With only five Malaysian men allowed in the singles and doubles Badminton at the Games in March, a shock loss by Games defending champion Mohd Hafiz Hashim in the Swiss Open has heightened competition for a coveted team position.
Mr Hafiz went down to former world champion Xia Xuanze of China in the second round, reversing a superb win over Mr Xia in the first round of the last year’s Malaysian Open.
It was also the end of the road for James Chua in the after he lost to Canadian Bobby Milroy.
But Malaysian number one Lee Chong Wei stayed on course for his first title of the year, with three other Malaysians - Wong Choong Hann, Yeoh Kay Bin, and Sairul Amar Ayob - joining the two-time Malaysian Open champion in the third round.
Adding to the talent pool, scratch pair Wong Choong Hann and Choong Tan Fook did well to clear the opening round of the Doubles competition, defeating England’s Ian Palethorpe and Kristian Roebuck to earn the right to meet top seed Mathias Boe and Carsten Morgensen of Denmark for a place in the quarter-finals.
The chief coach of the national team, Yap Kim Hock, said Malaysia had yet to decide on their line-up for the Commonwealth Games, but performances in the Swiss Open and the All-England Badminton Championships would certainly carry weight towards selection.
"There are only five places (for men) in the team this time compared to seven previously. We have to make sure that those selected will achieve the three-gold target," he said.
The Swiss Open is the first of three back-to-back European tournaments. The German Open will be held next week followed by the prestigious All-England Championships on 17-22 January.
The Badminton Association of Malaysia has to submit the names of their five man and five woman team to the Olympic Council of Malaysia by 3 February.